Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Vegetarian Flying with MAS and American Airlines

Hi folks!

I must say this is a rather back-dated post.

Just would like to share with you all as well as record down my personal experience(as a vegetarian) flying with the Malaysia Airlines versus American Airlines.y

Prior to booking and again confirming my flight tickets purchased with American Airlines, I have specifically mentioned about my special meal request for my guest and I.
About 10 days before the trip, I called up again to make sure our special meal requested(vegetarian with no onion, garlic, leek and yes no FISH too if you are wondering why this has to be specially-mentioned as in western countries especially, some people still thought eating fish is considered as in "vegetarian" diet). The American Airlines staff has confirmed and I had even printed out the updated itinerary with the word-"special meal is requested for this itinerary".

However, when we check in, we were told that only one of us has requested the special meal for our more than 22hours flight and they cannot do anything now to change our meal request. So can you imagine how disappointed I am? I try to keep calm and ask them what I could do to ensure my return trip would have this meal request updated in their system?

Then the kind MAS staff which works in collaboration with American Airlines said I could check with the ticketing counter but only for flight "operated by MAS", which means those flight under American Airlines, I can only talk to them when I reached my destination or I could call them(which I told them I already did and don't think it worked!). So I have no choice but made my friends wait alongside me when I queue up to enquire about my meal request. Yet, after I have done so, to my dismay..only to be told they only cater two meals on the 13hr++ flight and cannot guarantee I would be getting my vegetarian option(so you know which airlines to choose now should you need to request special meal). Also, I learnt something new, as different airlines use different terms for their vegetarian meals, you can check the drop-down list, it has many different types of vegetarian; e.g., lacto-ovo vegetarian(that eats eggs and dairy), vegan(no dairy, eggs, honey or any other animal by-products), and for my case where I can't take onion, garlic and leek- it's called Vegetarian Jain(a type of vegetarian that does not included root vegetables), so this would be my safest bet although this would mean I won't even be served potatoes which I am fine as long as they got my meal right!

We will definitely reconsider about booking our flight with American Airlines. Compared to MAS, even though only one vegetarian meal is recorded in their system, the stewardess go the extra mile to ensure I have something to eat. They made me some salad with mash potatoes as well gave me additional bread and fruits to chew on which I am truly grateful of. But not American Airlines, all they can do is sorry it's not recorded in our system and we can't do anything on that!

Long story cut short, here's a lessons learnt from me to select your airlines carefully before booking your ticket. American Airlines even have the new rule implemented whereby economy ticket passenger have no access to their overhead cabin and we can only place our things below the chair. This is truly another surprise to me as even if I fly in our budget airline- AirAsia, I don't have such restriction. Sigh..big bummer!

Now let me share with you some of my meals firstly, a hot lemon and vegetarian pizza ordered at Terminal 3, KLIA. Yes, have a good meal before i fly since I might go hunger for the next 13 hours!! Next is this lovely pasta given to me by MAS when they managed to found someone who has let go their vegetarian meal package. So, one advice here is to alert the stewardess of your special meal request the moment you are on-board so that in any case this request has been overlooked at least they still have time to keep a lookout or find something for you. Next, once landed before transit to another 9hr++ flight, I bought some avocado sandwich at lovely London airport which has the most amazing variety of yummy sandwiches as well as affordable organic coffee only at £2.15. Next, thanks to my new-found vegan friend who shared a tip with me to bring our trusty cup-a-noodle, we managed to have a hot supper right after my long hungry flight with American Airlines. That's all my sharing for now..I am not trying to speak ill of any company but am just trying to share my experience being a vegetarian and travelling on different airlines. And I am truly proud of MAS crew. Kudos to the check-in counter staff and stewardess on duty that day! Cheers!

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